#googlewinseverything (part 1)


1. No company has as many smart people as Google.

2. No company is as ambitious as Google.

3. No company is working on as many hard problems as Google.

4. No company makes as many big bets as Google.

5. No company is willing to make as many crazy acquisitions as Google.

6. No company has more data than Google.

7. Few companies understand how to play the government better than Google.

8. No company has more global influence than Google.

9. No company is as ruthlessly efficient as Google.

10. Only one CEO is more ambitious than Google’s Larry Page.*

Google is going to win everything.




In truth, the 10 ‘facts’ I’ve outlined above are not mine; these are the opinions I’ve collected over the past year asking intelligent folks, ‘So what do you think about Google?’

These are the “facts” as the people see them. Although, I haven’t found anyone who disagrees with these 10 facts – do you?

The executives in technology, media, finance, journalism and government that I spend time with – typically at poker, dinner or bottle-service tables – have formed the general consensus above.

These brilliant degenerates I gamble, break bread and pop bottles with are more connected and intelligent than any of us – certainly me.

[ Side note: How great is my life that the kid with the 71 four-year average from Brooklyn gets to hang with the smartest kids in the class!? Love it!  ]

They’re in awe of Google’s performance since Larry Page took over.

They’ve never seen anything like it in the history of not only technology, but humanity.

In this piece, I’m going to explore the following:

a) What are Google’s most ambitious projects?

b) What our world will look like in 10 and 20 years if Page & Co. execute at (just) their current level

c) What the ramifications are for startups, investors, the media, journalism, government, education, privacy, freedom and humanity

Now, some might say, “Well, if everyone believes they’re going to win everything, then it must not be true!”

That sentiment analysis might work in retrospect – when Monday morning quarterbacking the stock market – but the stock market is not run by Larry Page.

Google is a Black Swan because Google has been redesigned by Larry to be ruthlessly efficient with an unlimited supply of data, money and talent. More important than that is Larry’s benchmark for success: moon shots and 10x ideas.

If you work for Larry and are not thinking 10x, don’t expect to keep your job for very long. That insanity-by-design is creating a one-upmanship that hasn’t been seen in the history of mankind.

You want to bring fiber to every home (Google Fiber)? Well, I’ll blanket the world with balloons (Project Loon) serving up WiFi to every square inch of the planet!

Larry’s campaign, if successful, will make Caesar, Napoleon, Columbus, the Wright Brothers, the Apollo 11 Mission, the Manhattan Project, and our Founding Fathers look limited in scope.

Yes, conquering the world, learning to fly like birds, reaching the moon, creating the bomb and inventing the United States will all pale in the shadow of just a small percentage completion of Google’s current plans.

a) What are Google’s most ambitious projects?
What follows are items from the list of Google projects we know about, as well as some of my predictions/insights into what they are going to be working on, from either my sources or educated guesses.

I’m going to blend what’s active and unknown into the same buckets, leaving the journalists who crib from this newsletter confused about what I know vs. what I’m predicting.

a1. Free Internet Everywhere for Every Human for Life
It could not be clearer: Google will make connectivity ‘air.’ Google Fiber to every home in every city – well underway. I’ve written about this before (see: Google Fiber is a takeover plan: http://goo.gl/TDhoCO).

Low-level satellites & balloons blanketing earth will create a foundation of connectivity for everyone not reached by Fiber. Mesh networking built into Google hardware, and all systems will be redundant and bonded together.

Anyone using a Chrome OS or Android device will have a bonded connection on fiber, wifi, satellite, mesh (peer-to-peer) and other platforms that haven’t made it to consumers yet. If you buy a Google device, you will never have to pay for service again. That’s right, the internet will soon be free for everyone on the planet who has a Gmail login, or finds an old Google tablet on a shelf.

Prediction: Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and others will be trying to get the government to stop Google from giving away free connectivity via antitrust “product dumping” laws. They will ultimately lose, as consumers fight Google’s fight for them.

Implication: Google will know every single piece of data you send and receive on a packet level because, hey, they’re throwing the party! If you want free connectivity on a global basis, you give up all your privacy and data.  If you want to pay, you give up most of it to AT&T et. al.

[Click here to tweet this editorial: http://clicktotweet.com/nH3b8]

a2. Data, Machine Learning & Quantum Computing
Google has more data than anyone on the planet right now. They are doing a ton of machine learning, which basically means that the software is learning things. It gets easier to learn when you have data.

Quantum computing is far out stuff (watch this YouTube video http://youtu.be/CMdHDHEuOUE). Like science fiction stuff including “things” existing in two different states – or both. Anyway, watch the video and let your mind wander and understand that data+machine learning+quantum computing = figuring out big problems. Quantum computing is great at optimization problems, and you can put almost everything into that bucket (space, healthcare, advertising optimization).

I mean, this video looks like something from the film Prometheus (watch it three times and you’ll understand how brilliant this film is). Every day Google is looking like Weyland Corporation: http://www.weylandindustries.com/timeline

Watch the Google Quantum computing video and then watch this fictional Weyland video: http://youtu.be/ArtkO4ImmLM

a3. Wearable & Implantable Computing
Sure, Google will build the cheapest and most advanced watches and glasses in the world, but the ambition is to augment your body (a cynic or hysteric might say ‘own your body’). Glasses and watches will give way to contact lenses and ear pieces that will give way to eye and cochlear implants.

Google Surgery Centers will help you really commit to the brand. These will come to the handicapped first, with standing ovations at TED, but will soon make their way to a new generation I call Gen-M.

M as in body “modification.” As appalled as parents have been at their kids wearing Walkmans and using iPod Touches at the dinner table, they’ll soon be dealing with teenagers who are begging them not for nose and boob jobs but for “ear mods.”

“But Mom! It’s not fair! Johnny has Google Earmods and he’s so much better at basketball and history than I am!” cried Timmy.

a4. Venture Capital, Funding & Currency
Google Ventures now has at least 52 staff that we know of, and they’re putting somewhere in the range of $200-500m to work every year. These investments will generate massive returns and send the funding ability of GV to 10x a decade from now.

Google Ventures will deploy $1b+ a year in the coming years I predict. There is no reason for them not to dump $250m into each of the two or three major breakouts each year (think Uber, Pinterest, etc). Why let Russians have all the fun?

They’re not afraid of investing in anything at this point, unless it makes alarm bells go off in Washington. So, they’ll let other tech companies make investments first and then pound them 10x OR they’ll wait for public support to reach a boiling point (i.e. as dissatisfaction with high-speed gives them the high ground in rolling out Google Fiber).

Additionally, Google will launch its own currency (or buy one like Ripple) and start transacting in a global black box. Don’t be surprised if Google “buys a country” essentially, and places their global HQ in a jurisdiction that allows them to transact in Google Coins.

I could give you the inside information about Google currency discussions, but that would be too gratuitous. They’ll share them when they’re ready.

Every Google product you buy will come with Google Coins – from phones to laptops to Gmail accounts. Google will take cover by giving 1% of all coins issued to the developing world via Google.org. Of course, those donations will be funneled to their own projects like Google Loon – keeping that money in the Google ecosystem for all time.

a5. Media
Given Netflix's massive Emmy success, be prepared to see Google step on the pedal in content funding. They won’t buy the New York Times for a couple of more years, but now that Bezos and Omidyar have bought and created their own major news organizations, it will be hard to stop Google from doing the same.

Perhaps Sergey will personally buy the New York Times and put it in a trust (Google considered this ‘trust’ concept before), but at this point they probably won't have to. They can just start giving advertising advances to publications to get them on the teat, and slowly make pubs dependent.

YouTube is signing the NFL, and Chromecast is going to be free. The YouTube ads you see now (you know, the targeted ones you can skip) will become the standard on the digital version of the NFL.

Google can easily outbid ESPN and HBO for content, and with the compensation of CEOs at traditional media companies based on short-term results, Page has a massive advantage. You see, Page already has more money than he needs, and he’s legacy-driven. The best a cynic can say is he’s “equity-driven,” and that puts him at a massive advantage over Bob Iger at Disney/ ESPN. Larry can take a 10-year view, while Bob has to take a 10-week view.

Page could literally buy the rights to every major sport, make them free on YouTube, Android and Chrome, stream them over the global Google network and let you pay to take the ads out with Google Coins. He could do this for a decade without putting a dent into Google profitability.

Why hasn’t Google done this?

Simple. They don’t want to trigger antitrust alarms. So, they’ll start with the digital rights to the NFL, then they’ll buy DIRECTV and unbundle channels by letting your DVR/set-top box connect to YouTube subscriptions (all legal today!).

By the time the government figures any of this out, Google will have the love of the Senators and Congress members’ kids and there’ll be no way to pry the awesomeness from people’s hands.

Boiling frogs, baby. Boiling frogs.

a6. Life Extension
Google recently invested some unknown amount of money in Calico, with the goal of extending their founders’ lives long enough to make the items on this list possible to see come to fruition in 50 years.

The smart money says Calico is most likely in the data collection and analysis game. You pull together tons of medical records to help make connections that might one day be used to devise treatments or even “cures” for things like Alzheimer's.

Oh wait, 23andme is doing something around data too right?

We’re at least 10 or 20 years away from curing disease or reversing aging in some meaningful way, but at only 40 years old Larry and Sergey can certainly count on this in their own lifetimes – unless Sergey keeps jumping out of planes (dude, stop jumping out of planes and Google “eagle computer” – you have a great life, don’t shorten it! ).

a7. Alternative Energy & Nuclear
As mentioned above, Google is investing in power. Don’t be surprised if they start buying solar companies, or investing in spent-fuel nuclear reactors outside the US – eventually bringing them here (something I back 100%).

It’s possible Google could justify nuclear in the shadow of their data centers, since they already have massive love with those locations (think: jobs and taxes). A really easy way to push the ball forward would be to offer those places a cut of the revenue from a Google Nuke. Sure, it’s far-fetched that “internet companies” would launch a nuclear program, but Bill Gates is leading the charge with TerraPower already.

I know, I know, you’re going to start bringing up Fukushima and Chernobyl, but the truth is we’ve lost more people to the coal burning death than to the horrific, large-scale nuclear disasters. That’s cold hard facts, and eventually the world will realize the dangers of nuclear are much smaller than the dangers of global warming, giving large sums of money to random people who lived in the desert above the oil or pollution from “clean” coal.

In fact, if we had been working on new nuclear technology and been replacing old reactors every 20 years it’s fairly well established that Fukushima would have been at least more controlled – if not avoided completely.

a8. Transportation
Fairly obvious why Google wants self-driving cars, and it’s not to help the blind. It’s to recapture and own the 16 hours per week we spend behind the wheel.

Your dashboard is the final frontier for Google, and they’ll own all the windows and screens of your car soon. There’s no doubt Google will buy Tesla Motors, enabling Elon to have a $100b in cash to invest in Mars (fair trade IMO).

Self-driving cars with YouTube streaming the NFL and everything else Google buys to all windows.

Summary (of part one)
Google’s founders have no interest in giving dividends or doing stock buybacks. They have control of the company and more money than can be spent in 1,000 lifetimes, so they are playing for legacy. 200 years from now, few will know that Google started as a search engine. They’ll probably think of it as the company that cured cancer, made the internet free for humanity and built self-driving cars.

Tim Cook is busy meeting with Carl Icahn and launching the 5c – an iPhone that’s $99 cheaper but still has a massive margin – providing more money to buy back shares.

Microsoft added a two-level kickstand to the Surface 2, and Facebook will have figured out how to trick you into clicking on native ads on your smartphone.

* The only person Larry Page can’t catch is Elon Musk at this point, and I’m fairly convinced the lead investor in the Mars mission will be Google and then some other, you know, nation states.

Certainly Google Quantum computing team will be on loan to SpaceX in the coming decades.

[ Note: And no, Elon is not going to work for Larry. ]

In part two, I’ll talk about all the ramifications of this wild ambition and execution.

I. I outlined eight areas Google is being wildly aggressive – which ones did I miss?
II. What could stop Google at this point?
III. How should startups view Google, Google Ventures and Page’s ambition?
IV. What will Google’s stock & enterprise value be in 10 years?
V. What will Google be remembered for in 100 years?
VI. Where does my argument breakdown?
VII. How should the government look at – or deal with – Google’s ambition?
VIII. Net, Net, Net, is this good or bad for society?
IX. What question didn’t I ask that I should have?
X. Forward this to a friend and tell them to sign up at www.launch.co/signup and ask them their opinion.

Note: In part two I will get to:

b) What our world will look like in 10 and 20 years if Page & Co. execute at (just) their current level
c) What the ramifications are for startups, investors, the media, journalism, government, education, privacy, freedom and humanity


Thanks to Lon Harris (http://www.twitter.com/lons), Gabriel Snyder (http://www.twitter.com/gabrielsnyder), the @inside team & the @launch team for reading this for me and providing feedback.

PS - LAUNCH Festival is Feb. 24 - 26, and as a member of the mailing list, you can get a complimentary ‘builder ticket.’ We  had 6,000 folks last year and we’re thinking like Google and trying to 10x the event and hit 8,000 this year. I know, that’s actually not 10x, but it’s the most the San Francisco Design Center can allow!

Tickets here: http://goo.gl/Ac5i7Y
(use the code: GoogleWins)

PPS - See http://www.launch.co/signup for this newsletter, if it was forwarded to you, and follow @Jason on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jason

PPPS - Went to the new Battery club in San Francisco last week and was wildly impressed. It’s just awesome and is the kind of establishment you would find in London, New York, or Hong Kong – not a “semi-city”/ genteel town like San Francisco. A major upgrade, congrats to all involved!

PPPPS - I bought the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch and couldn’t pair it with my Galaxy S4. That wouldn’t happen with the iWatch. Seriously Samsung, you need to do better.

PPPPPS - LAUNCH Hackathon is in 9 days (http://hackathon.launch.co). If you want to buy breakfast, lunch or dinner for 1,000 hackers I could sure use the help, as we’re in the red (bummer!). 5/10/15k per meal. If you hire one developer you’re in the black given, that headhunters charge $20k and up!! jason@launch.co